Is it possible that the church is going the way of the book and music industry? This is what I mean…their was a hay day when the large record labels owned the market. There was even a day that, Simon and Schuster along with other publishing companies owned the book market. These days are changing aren’t they? In an electronic world where you can self-publish writings and music we are finding that the best art out there is found in the independent or underground market. Amazon has just revealed that e-books are now outselling paper books.
I think the same can be said of churches today. People are tired of the church scene run as an industry. They may still align themselves with a denomination or movement which is a great thing. However, they are finding churches and fellowships (that still may align with their ideals) that are just different. They certainly may not be bigger but people are seeing that church run as a ministry and not as an industry or business all about the money or keeping to themselves.
I have one solid reason that I see as a recurring theme in my life and those I enjoy being with as to why people are looking for something more ministry based and organic. It can be summed up in two words: SALT LICK. Let me explain.
When the apostle Paul wrote this verse above he knew that too much of anything is bad. This came out in a conversation I had with someone regarding our church and ministry “Church at the Pub” (www.churchatthepub.com). Somewhere in the institution of church many (not all) have forgotten what it means to season something. If I have someone over and grill some hamburgers I will ask them how they like their burger seasoned. Inevitably they will say with some salt. You see just a little bit of salt can go a long way. When I am in conversation with someone at the pub or in daily doings, “seasoned with salt” may mean sharing briefly my thought on how God may view this or that. Literally just a few words can make a person know where you are coming from on that topic. This displays so much grace when a person does this. Just a few words can get a person thinking verses a 5 or 10 minute dissertation and the occasional ambush lunch.
What would ruin that hamburger? I believe that if the person asked for some salt and I handed it back to them with a salt lick on it…I have done two things. I have completely mangled the burger (bun and all) causing the person to leave it and be grossed out by it thinking I am the worst cook ever. The same can be said of conversations that don’t display grace. A person at the pub may ask for a little advice and instead of seasoning it with salt making it a great conversation…I end up overloading them with teaching upon teaching, thought upon thought, unsolicited opinion upon unsolicited opinion. What happens? That conversation that could have gone so well now is a unappealing pile of garbage and the person will not want anything to do with me again. What could have been a beautiful conversation is now a pile of yuck.
We have a task to show great grace in our conversations with people.